New Brunswick

The downtown section of this Moncton street will become one-way later this month

The changes to Main Street, which will also add in a bike lane, are meant to let businesses occupy more public space and entice more people to the downtown core.

The changes to Main Street, which will also add a bike lane, are expected to be maintained until Sept. 30

Moncton's Main Street between Lutz and Botsford streets will allow only westbound traffic for the summer. (Shane Magee/CBC)

A downtown section of Moncton's Main Street will temporarily switch to one-way traffic in the coming weeks. 

The plan was proposed at a meeting last month and formally approved by a city council vote Monday evening.

Kevin Silliker, Moncton's director of economic development, said in an interview the change would occur "probably toward the end of June." 

Only westbound traffic will be allowed between Botsford and Lutz streets. A bike lane separated by concrete barriers will also be added. 

The move is part of several changes the city is making to rules around sidewalk cafes and patios meant to let businesses occupy more public space and entice people to the core during the pandemic. 

No specific start date was set Monday evening for the switch that's set to last until Sept. 30. It will involve the city installing about 65 concrete barriers to separate vehicles from the new bike lane. 

Only westbound traffic will be allowed along Main Street through downtown. (Submitted/City of Moncton)

Several councillors said they'd prefer not to use the concrete barriers. 

Coun. Charles Leger repeatedly raised the idea of using flexible poles that would have to be bolted into the asphalt. City staff said the installation would likely lead to deterioration of the paved surface, adding to city maintenance spending in the future. 

Leger worried about barriers lined up end to end down the street, however staff said there will be a gap between the barriers.

"It's not going to be like a great wall, jersey barrier to jersey barrier," said city manager Marc Landry.

Barriers will also be strategically placed so cars can't drive into the bike lane at intersections.

Anne Poirier Basque, the executive director of Downtown Moncton Centre-ville Inc., said the organization representing downtown businesses was pleased the city opted not to completely close the street. 

She said the group was OK with the concrete barriers to ensure safety along the street. 

"There's no perfect solution — we're trying something new," said Coun. Greg Turner. 

Overall, the changes are expected to cost $30,000. That includes purchasing around 30 additional concrete barriers at a cost of about $400 each.

City staff told councillors that Festival Inspire had contacted the city about allowing artists to paint murals on the bike lane side of the barriers. 

Turner said if the change to one-way traffic goes well this year, the city could revisit the concept next summer.

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